Written and photographed
By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
“Sinabi ng kuya ko, Kuya Jun, Felipe was an ardent nationalist. Sobrang lublub ng kanyang pagmamahal sa bayan. Halos gabi gab isinasabi niya sa amin ‘Hindi aksidente na kayo ay naging Pilipino. Meron tayong misyon sa ating bayan. Hindi aksidente yon’. There is a reason why you’re a Filipino– to help support, defend and promote our own race. Ang kanyang misyon sa buhay, itampok, ipahayag at ikalaan ang kaluluwang Pilipino sa pamamagitan ng musika.” Justice Magdangal De Leon was quoting his father National Artist for music Felipe Padilla De Leon. Justice Magdangal was speaking during the launch for NOLI ME TANGERE THE OPERA running from March 8-10, 2019 at the CCP Main Theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
This is the Philippines first full-length opera, written by National Artists Guillermo Tolentino (libretto) and Felipe Padilla De Leon (music). NOLI ME TANGERE (Huwag Mo Salangin/Touch Me Not) the opera premiered in 1957 and was based on the novel by National Hero Jose Rizal. The novel changed Philippine history by exposing the abuses of Spanish colonizers and Catholic Church. It also had the unintended consequence of breathing life into an independent Filipino nation.
This year’s production is in time for the CCP’s 50th anniversary and U.N. designation of 2019 as the Year for Indigenous Language. J&S Productions would like to acknowledge the support of Senator Loren Legarda. J&S is the same production responsible for Noli’s run in the Kaya Playhouse in New York (2013), the John F Kennedy Performing Arts in Washington DC (2014), the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resort’s World Manila (2014).
Noli was last run in the CCP (2017), which commemorated the opera’s 60th anniversary. This fulfills the J&S Production’s commitment to keep this masterpiece alive for young Filipino audiences to experience and enjoy.
Justice Magdangal De Leon in his quote above was also referring to his Kuya (older brother) Jun De Leon who became Chairman of the NCCA- National Commission for Culture and the Arts (2010-2016). Magdangal himself is a brilliant legal mind who became a judge, then Justice in the Court of Appeals and retired August 2018. Noli the Opera became part and parcel of their personal lives growing up.
Justice Magdangal shared that at age 13 he was cast in the role of Crispin, Linares at age 25 and finally as Pilosopong Tasyo at age 38. “So from Crispin, Basilio, Linares and Tasyo kasama ako sa lahat ng production Noli Me Tangere.” He had a lot of memories of his father writing the music despite the chaos of him and his siblings playing.
He fondly calls Tolentino, ‘Mang Emong’ who visited their house in Sampaloc to work on the libretto with his father. Describing Felipe, “Wala siyang na ririnig, meron siyang sariling daigdig. Ibang klase ang utak nito. He was hearing his own music in his mind. He was not a pianist but he can write music for nearly all instruments. Di siyamarunong mag piano, trombone player.”
What few historians and biographers know is that Felipe relied on his wife Illuminada Mendoza to test out his musical compositions. Justice Magdangal gave a lot of credit to his mother as his father’s pianist and copyist. His own grandfather Luis Mendoza (on his mother’s side) was an earlier composer and perhaps an influence on both his parents. “Nanay ko tiga tugtog niya. Nanay ko magaling kumopya ng nota siya rin gagawa ng music piece. So there was a perfect partnership between the composer, pianist and copyist. So this was the atmosphere lumaki kami ng mga bata.”
Hearing the music is an emotional experience for everyone, “You cannot help but be touched by the music of Felipe De Leon. Na muling ma antig ang damdaming makabayan if you hear the music of Felipe de Leon and of course kasama yung libretto ni Guillermo Tolentino. Ginagawa yung opera, we were hearing the music all the time. Kabisado po naming ni Kuya Jun ang music po niyan.”
Suddenly Jun interjects, “Lahat ng mali”. Magdangal goes on, “Pati raw mali alam namin (laughs). Alam naming lahat ng kanta, lahat ng interpretation ng bawat aria because we grew up with it. One sidelight, For the Aria of Sisa na gawa niya na yan wala pang opera. Ginamit ni Villavicencio Cuyugan at her initial recital, 1949 yata yon e. Na una yung awit ni Sisa, pangalawa yun KAY TAMIS NA BUHAY, preceded the opera.”
Magdangal also made note of the challenges of composing a 3-hour opera. He also acknowledges the need to edit or shorten for the latest version which is now significantly shorter. “Si Jun De Leon at ako composed some songs also for some marches, some hymns. Pinaka mahaba ng na compose ko five minutes lang. Subukan mong gumawa ng nonstop music for 3 hours napaka hirap po niyan. It’s a superhuman effort to have perseverance to have a 3 hour non stop opera.”
The previous showings of Noli The Opera over the decades became a barometer for the best musical venues, if not the most prestigious in the country. It premiered in 1957 andwas followed in 1965 both in the FEU Auditorium. 1969, 1975, 1987 were in CCP.
Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue then had the audacious efforts of staging it the U.S. in Kaya Playhouse in New York (2013), the John F Kennedy Performing Arts in Washington DC (2014). It returned to the Philippines at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resort’s World Manila (2014).
Justice Magdangal personally thanked both Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue, “I’m glad sa producers natin doing their best to give life sa katha ng aking ama. Na sabi niya I will live and die for this country. Eto angaking purpose for being here from a humble origin in a small town in Peñaranda Nueva Ecija. At siya ay pumunta sa U.P. wala naman siyang pera from a poor family. Na bubuhay siya noon dahil painter din siya noon.”
Felipe then became a painter of movie billboards, posters and signs announcing: NOW SHOWING or NEXT PICTURE. Felipe’s formal entry to the world of music was the U.P. conservatory. One of his teachers then was Francis Abelardo and graduated 1939. This was the time when U.P. was in Padre Faura far smaller and far from the now expansive campus in Diliman. ‘Much later, he continued his studies under Vittorio Giannini at the Juilliard School in New York, U.S’ [ from Wikipedia ]
Justice Magdangal waxed nostalgic of those days when the land the Supreme Court now occupies were all under the auspices of the university., “Kinuha siyang faculty ng U.P. wala pa sa Diliman, sa Orosa pa Padre Faura pa ang U.P. noon. That’s where my former office was. I just retired last August, Court of Appeals nandoon ang building ng U.P. familiar , Supreme Court all part of U.P.”
Justice Magdangal reiterated his gratitude, “I want to thank Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue, their camp for again sacrificing your time, effort of course your money. Kahit siya ay malugi, he is not here to earn money. But to promote love of country especially among the young.”
The effect of the opera is just as powerful to this day, “2017 nabalitaan ko maraming estudyante po they were crying after watching Noli. Music can really move the heart and the mind. Hindi kaya ng salita kayang gawin ng musika. I congratulate the artists for making the students cry. Pati classmates ko sa U.P. Law they watched the opera pati mga bata they were also moved by the music. we have never heard such beautiful music in our life. Gawa pa ng Pilipino. So be proud to be Filipino salamat.”
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
In a night that featured icons of Original Pilipino Music (OPM), Dulce was undoubtedly the showstopper. She started out with WHAT I DID FOR LOVE. Her vocal prowess is already well known. There’s soul, power if you put that together with her ease in conveying the emotion of a song that’s what puts her over the top.
She can ‘birit’ (belt out) with the best of them at the same time have tremendous soul, depth, lower registers in her range. Everything from her eyes, hands even a throwback lean like Cebuana province mate Pilita convey emotion. The result is overpowering. The audience had an immediate standing ovation.
Resort’s World Manila Artistic Director and theater stalwart Michael Williams had the misfortune of following Dulce’s unforgettable performance. He relied on his wit telling the audience ‘What can I do to follow that???’ Williams, however, gave a great account of himself singing a Broadway worthy IMPOSSIBLE DREAM and EMBRACEABLE YOU.
Some of the best names in music came together in a concert entitled RICHARD JAMES MERK, OUR LOVE to raise funds for their comrade at Johnny B. Good, Glorietta 3, Makati City last February 4, 2019.
The prestigious list includes: Kuh Ledesma, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez, RJ Jacinto, Rannie Raymundo, Marco Sison, Isabella Gonzales, Dondi Ong, Arpie & the Multivitamins, Brod Pete, Carina Dignos, Champagne Morales, George Sarakinis, Chris Ang Ping, Henry Katindig, Jeannie Tiongco, Jane Joseph, Jong Cuenco, Megan Herrera, Michael Williams, Nants Del Rosario, Progeny, Rachel Ann Wolfe, Route 70.
Many more artists were in the line up but were not able to take the stage: Kris Lawrence, Margaux Salcedo,Mike Hanopol, Jazz Almonacid, Joey Bautista, Tosca and Rox Puno, Sal Panelo. Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo was already sighted at Johnny B. Good but was pulled away to Malacañang on urgent business.
It wasn’t just the singers but the top instrumentalists were there to lend their support: Henry Katindig (keyboards), Billy Melendrez (guitar), Colby Dela Calzada (bass), Mar Dizon (drums) and Vix Lucero (saxophone).
Richard Merk is considered as Asia’s Prince of Jazz and has carved out a name for himself as singer since the 1970s and 80s. His mother Annie Brazil isAsia’s Queen of Jazz was also there to watch the concert in spite of her frail condition. Brazil is recovering from a stroke since last year but willed herself to the momentous occasion. Richard’s sister Rachel Ann Wolfe came from New Jersey to sing to her brother and mother, who were both wheelchair bound.
Richard has a host of health problems after an accident 3 years ago, injuring and wounding his leg. It got infected and acquired Necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh eating disease. Because of his diabetic condition, it has not been able to heal as quickly. The past New Year his situation got worse and was confined to an intensive care unit.
During the night of the concert he declined to be interviewed, as he could not speak at length. He recently had five of his teeth extracted. All of this resulted in an accumulation of medical bills that has been a huge burden, hence the need for a fund raising.
The past years have not been kind to Richard. He is currently embroiled in a legal battle that has drained his dwindling financial resources on top of his medical expenses. The resulting emotional stress has taken a toll. Siblings Rachel and Raffy Wolfe have feared a turn towards suicide. They sought the help of a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with depression. He has since been prescribed anti-depressants. They added that the recent deaths of friends Rico J. Puno and Pepe Smith have also affected him.
During the concert Dulce sang her original hit PAANO, from 41 years ago. The song has the line Paanoba Aking Mahal? Paanoba Ito? (How can this be, My Love? How can this be?). The words speak of the underlying context of Richard’s legal problems. Bago ka lumisan sanay maturuan mo, Naiwasan ang bawat nakasanyan ko, At limutin na ang maghintay lagi sayo, Paano ba Aking Mahal?
Even if you weren’t aware of that context everyone was already so moved by her performance. The way she sang it was so heart rending. A Canadian theater actor Rick Schiralli, whom Dulce acknowledged in the crowd was so overcome by emotion he was not just giving a standing ovation but shooting a video with his phone. After her segment he was gushing, “This was the highlight of our whole Philippine trip!” It didn’t matter that the Filipino language is completely foreign to him. Schiralli is the star of CURTAINS a musical comedy running in Cardinal Carter Academy of the Arts, Toronto in April 4-14, 2019.
This is what makes OPM so powerful, tagos sa buto na salita (lyrics that penetrate your bones). That’s what took Dulce’s act to another level. During an interview she revealed that she was in constant communication with Richard and was well aware of what he was going through. This may have colored her songs with heartfelt emotion. The audience experienced the anguish and pain of losing love through the music and words.
Dulce first met Richard Merk when they were both cast in a musical, IWAGAN way back in 1984. It was written by award winning musical scorer and composer Jun Latonio. As a newbie then Richard was guiding her professionally. More than that, Richard tremendously widened her whole concept and understanding of music and singing. His style, which she described as ‘free flowing’ was so out of the box that it encouraged her to improvise and find her own style.
She discovered that it wasn’t just her that Richard influenced but a whole generation, “Si Richard kasi kaiba. Pumasok siya sa industry nung na kilala siya at narinig ng tao nagkaroon ng ibang kamalayan. Kasi hindi tayo ganoon e. Basically tayong Pinoy lalo na kakagaling lang natin sa adaptation turn sumikat ang mga Rico J, Basil Valdez, noong panahon na yon. Pumasok siya iba yung timplang dala niya.”
Dulce – Sharon Movie Medley
This led to widening her horizons, “Sa akin kasi personally ang laki ng nangyari ang laki ng na gawa ni Richard. Sa kanya nagkaroon ako ng lawak. Kasi na ninawala ako na sa kakayahan na yon na pwede kong gawin. Kaya friendship naming na develop hanggang sa ilang taon na hanggang ngayon. Kaya sa panahon na to na nagkasamasama tayo to give support to one another is always a blessing talaga.”
Richard’s Help to Musicians
During his days operating Merk’s Bar and others, Richard was well known as someone who consistently organized fund raisings for musicians in need. Now they’ve all come out to support him in his time of difficulty. Dulce noted that people like Isay Alvarez, Robert Seña were the same ones going to Richard’s fund raising activities before. That’s why she feels compelled to be there for him now.
“Hindi lang sa panahon na ganito kung di emotionally we are connected sa craft natin sa arts natin we are all connected. That’s why we are there to help one another. Palagi ko siyang pinagpepray. Richard is very open about sa mga panahon na kelangan niya ng mga prayers at Malaya natin na gagawa yon sa isa’t isa.”
Incidentally, Rannie Raymundo who is also part of the OUR LOVE fundraising concert will be having a post valentine concert with Dulce in Zirkoh on February 16, 2019. HIT MEN Richard Reynoso, Renz Verano and Dulce’s son David Ezra will also be part of the show. David is truly making a name for himself having just won BEST ACTOR at the Aliw awards for BINONDO. David Ezra is also part of the EL BIMBO cast a musical based on the Eraser Heads hits, running in Resort’s World Manila again in March.
Written and photographed
By Jude Thaddeus Bautista
Bayani San Diego Jr. was an influential figure in the world of Philippine cinema. As writer, editor, journalist he faithfully reported on the successes of countless Filipino filmmakers who earned honors abroad. When independent filmmakers, artists and performers are sometimes oppressed by the commercial system or suffered in some way he’s been there to report on it. He performed these duties for about two decades.
So his passing at age 48, last October 25, 2018 left a huge absence in media and the world of entertainment. The news of his death was a huge shock to friends andcolleagues who have seen him work actively on the field.
Months before he was confined in an ICU but decided to keep his hospital stay under wraps from most people. He was diagnosed with coronary heart disease necessitating a heart by pass procedure. Instead of concentrating on his health he was still more focused on his job.He managed to control his diet and lost weight but it wasn’t enough.
In the morning of his death his sister tried to wake him up for an upcoming flight for the Tokyo International Film Festival. Bayani was rushed to the hospital, where he was resuscitated but to no avail. . His ‘official cause of death was cardio pulmonary arrest’. — From report of Marinel Cruz, PDI.
Bayani’s parents may have predestined his life by naming him. Bayani in Tagalog literally means ‘hero’ and that’s what he became as a champion of Filipino cinema. By the same token, I feel there are also important names and people who recently passed away who should also be recognized: Mario A. Hernando who diedSeptember 5, 2017 at age 68,from bone and prostate cancer and Bibsy Carballo – Decemeber 2, 2016 at age 75.
There is a worldwide crisis where journalists are vilified and sometimes even murdered, if not jailed or harassed. TIME’s selection of Persons of the Year is a statement against this persecution in Jamal Kashoggi, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo of Burma and our very own Maria Ressa in the Philippines. Our beloved country is notorious for this as the 32 journalists killed in the Maguindanao Massacre have yet to find justice 9 years after. It is the world record for most number of journos killed at one time.
Bayani San Diego, Mario Hernando and Bibsy Carballo may not have been persecuted like the TIME honorees, but their contributions in the world of Philippine entertainment and journalism are not any less vital. All contributed greatly, they are journalists, editors, columnists and definitely heroes in their own right.
Mario Hernando, Bibsy Carballo
Mario A. Hernando was a film reviewer and had a pioneering TV show dedicated to Philippine cinema and TV in the 90s. He became Managing Editor of Ang Pahayagang MALAYA and was also appointed as part of the Movie Television Review and Classification Board. More importantly he was a founding member of the Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the most respected award giving body in the country.
Bibsy Carballo was a columnist for the Philippine Star. She wrote not only about movies but also Philippine Theater, music, dance and the cultural scene. While many today know her to be a journalist, she was also one of the producersof the epic Filipino classic HIMALA. This became a cultural phenomenon that starred Nora Aunor and was also produced and executive produced by former Governor Imee Marcos now running for the Senate. HIMALA director Ishmael Bernal was honored as National Artist for Film.
INDIE BRAVO Tribute
This year’s 9thINDIE BRAVO AWARDS at the Philippine Daily Inquirer office in Makati was more poignant than previous editions. Bayani or Ton ton to family and friends was one of the originators of the now much awaited event that brings together the best of independent filmmakers who reaped honors abroad. Bayani was remembered in a touching tribute, highlighting his contributions.
INDIE BRAVO has become a yearly tradition that unifies everyone in the independent film community. Emmie Velarde, one of the originators, called it a night of recognition as opposed to a competition.
These are directors, artists, documentary filmmakers who are usually out of the studio / commercial system. Most are products of film fests such as Cinemalaya , CineFilipino, CinemaOne, QCinemaeven the MMFF but are not confined to them. For example, this year’s batch includes National Artist awardees: Ryan Cayabyab, Kidlat Tahimik, Lav Diaz and ‘future’ National Artist Brillante Mendoza.
Context of Cannes
In the middle of the ceremonies organizers were surprisedby a volunteer who shared his memories with Bayani. French Audio Visual Attaché Martin Marvin Macalintal was moved to tears seeing Bayani’s photo at the Louvre in Paris during the slide show. Macalintal was there with Bayani during that same trip.
Through his extemporaneous speech Martin was able to give a clear timeline to Bayani’s journey, “Talagang tinututukan niya lahat ng lumalabas sa international film festivals. Bow ako. And in his first trip to Paris was in 2008 nagkataon July yon birthday ko e. Pati dinner sagot ni Mother Lily totoo yon. That was 2008 at least 50 filmmakers kasama namin ni Bayani to showcase Philippine cinema in France. Of course after that alam niyo na. After 2000 the very first time pumasok ang ANINO (by Raymond Red)sa short film, the very first Palme D’Or na pumasok na Filipino si Bayani kinukulit nako. That was 2000 naging best friends kami ni Bayani because of Philippine cinema.”
After the 2008 Philippine cinema showcase, it somehow bore fruit: Brillante Mendoza’s KINATAY won in Cannes. The successes may have inspired Bayani and Emmie Velarde to start INDIE BRAVO the same year 2009, “Bayani maraming salamat, Indie Bravo maraming salamat. And yon that was 2008, Indie Bravo came 2009 / 2010, katas yan e, magkaka sunod yan e. After the tribute to Philippine cinema in 2008, then 2009 we had KINATAY in Cannes. So yon yung nag udyok kay Bayani and kay Miss Emmie para gawin talaga to.”
From then on an avalanche of awards have followed nearly every single year, not just from Cannes but from all over the world: Brillante Mendoza THY WOMB (2012) Best Director- Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Pepe Diokno’s ENGKWENTRO (Clash) Lion of the Future – “Luigi de Laurentiis” Award for Best Debut Film, as well as the Orizzonti Prize from the Venice Film fest (2009), Lav Diaz’ NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN (2013), and so on.
Many more younger Filipino filmmakers were discovered along the way earning honors abroad. INDIE BRAVO became the official gathering and homecoming of sorts for these independent filmmakers who’ve honored the country with their groundbreaking work.
The 9th edition of INDIE BRAVO has come full circle in a way as these days original Pinoy Palme D’Or winner Raymond Red is now known as current awardee Mikhail Red’s dad. Mikhail earned his INDIE BRAVO Goyuito (the second time) by winning Most Promising Talent and Best Director at the 13th Osaka Asian Film Festival for NEOMANILA a truthful take about the current war on drugs. Local release is set for January 2019.
PDI Pres. and CEO Sandy Prieto Romualdez was there to bolster the institutions’ support for the honorees, “Inquirer has been a witness to how the indie film community has grown and how it has gained respect not only locally but in the international arena as well. From the very beginning we have always expressed our full support to your artistic endeavors and to the talent of local artists. Your films have shown the world the richness of Filipino spirit, our resilience, our simple joys, struggles, challenges and hope. Please continue to inspire the present and future generations with stories we’d love to go back to over and over again. I hope you carry the passion to do whatever it is you love to do despite all the challenges you probably face.”
She also mentioned that the INDIE BRAVO space has been coveted, “In fact many other section editors are so jealous of the kind of space you get in the supplement in the anniversary. But that’s the testimony that we’d like to give you.”
Treb Monteras director of RESPETO has won several awards from Cinemalaya and abroad. He talked about how Bayani helped them, “Whenever we’re part of a festival, he’s always there first, na uuna siya parati. For him his devotion to his job and his desire to help out Pinoy Filmakers really shows. You know its tough to promote our films. Bayani messages me every 2 weeks to update with projects and festivals. It helps a lot; like me with RESPETO its self produced. So I don’t have a PR company. Bayani is always there for us even for small events for my film.”
Monteras’ INDIE BRAVO experience began way before he started his own movie, “I directed the 30th anniversary of the Philippine Daily Inquirer 3 years ago (2015). That time I wanted to get an Indie Bravo, it was also at the same time, December. But I still didn’t have a film. Someday I hope to get an Indie Bravo. Now after 3 years na abutan ko pa si Miss Letty Jimenez Magsanoc. I’m so happy the owners of Inquirer are still the Prietos.”
Defending Freedom of Self Expression
Filmmaker Carlo Obispo during his acceptance speech said, ‘This is the time for us to speak out’, referring to the current political climate of repression in the Philippines.
When asked about it Treb was more specific and pointed out the ‘unofficial martial law’ in the whole country, “Nangyayari kasi if you look around parang Martial Law na hindi, not just in Mindanao, hindi lang siya in-announce, hindi siya official, what’s happening right now is what happened 30-40 years ago. With Ressa (of Rappler) and now with filmmakers tinatag kami na komunista daw, terorista lahat na ng ‘ista’ nakakabahala (film makers are being tagged as communists and terrorists, its very disconcerting). I think lahat ng media, filmmakers at ng artist kelangnan natin magkaisa (All media, filmmakers and artists should unite) to defend our freedom, to defend our right to self expression.”
POST SCRIPT: Thank Yous
My own recollections of Bayani were always of his professionalism. I have to confess that every time I see him interviewing someone I made it a point to sneak in it as well. His questions were always intelligent and he had an insight or update no one else knew that he was certain to ask. I was also sure that it irked him no end whenever I snuck in, but I still did it. This is born out of his devotion to PDI, getting an exclusive was foremost in his mind.
Later on though, I noticed he softened his stand at least in my sneaking in because he knew that promoting Philippine Independent cinema was an enormous task. Getting the public to know about and watch these movies is a challenge.
Normally this MMFF season, people would much rather watch JACK EN POPOY, an action comedy starring the biggest network stars in Vic Sotto, Maine Mendoza and Coco Martin. And even the popularity of that is (in reality) only secondary to their foreign counterparts. Because for the majority of the year its Hollywood blockbusters like AQUAMAN that rule ticket sales.
I never got to thank him for all those times he let me sneak in my audio recorder while he was interviewing someone. I consider it a huge privilege and honor to have known him along with Mario Hernando and Bibsy Carballo. I want to personally thank them for everything I have learned and everything that I WILL learn from them as their work lives on in the web. I can still reference their articles, the stories and information they’ve gathered.
They may not know it but I consider Emmie Velarde (former PDI Entertainment Editor), Crispina Belen (Manila Bulletin Columnist & former MB Entertainment Editor) and Francis G. Rivera (Advertising Photographer) as eternal mentors.
Incidentally, two of my college professors have photos here with Mario Hernando: Clodualdo ‘Doy’ Del Mundo and Mike Rapatan. Their mastery of their craft in screen writing, film reviews and expansive knowledge of cinema is still unmatched, in all my years of covering entertainment. I’m a better person for having them as teachers, again thank you.
I want to say thank you to everyone involved with INDIE BRAVO for shining an extra light to what Pinoys should watch and look out for and giving honor to our talented and courageous film makers:Rito Asilo – PDI Entertainment editor, Marinel Cruz – Indie Bravo Proj. Director, Jenny Santiago – desk editor, Oliver Pulumbarit – writing editor, Allan Policarpio – reporter, Belle Roberto – editorial assistant, Tcel Maramag–Indie Bravo show director.
I want to say thank you to all my friends and colleagues who are writers, photographers, editors, videographers, bloggers, media, filmmakers and artists. I want to grab this opportunity to say what you do means something. All your sacrifice means something. Just like Treb said above, we have to unite and have the courage to tell the truth.
Noel Sales Barcelona
In the world of fashion, Randy Ortiz is an icon. He’s a revolutionary who deserves all the accolades and respect for he is a genius who greatly influenced the Philippine fashion industry in the 1990s. Merging the classic into the modern, he created beautiful clothes worthy to be worn, even by a queen.
But his designs are not only for the daughters of Eve. He also created pieces that brought the pagkamaginoo (gentlemanly), elegance and strength of Filipino men, reshaping men’s fashion in the country.
Now the latest fashion show of Ortiz, is in collaboration with The Artologist Gallery entitled Homage at the Manila Peninsula, November 26th. There are ten exhibiting fine artists: Judeo Razon Herrera, Julmard Vicente, Hiro Kawabata, Adam Nacianceno, MonnarBaldemor, Fernando Antimano, Eman Santos, DoltzPilar, Valen Valero and Carlo Saavedra. All of them converged to honor Ortiz as an artist and as a person of beauty.
For Ortiz is also known as a philanthropist apart from being a true creative visionary, therefore worthy to be called as one of the strong pillars of the Philippine fashion industry.
Each work on display really shows how skillfully the artists are in combining the four elements of fashion design: shape, line, color and texture; and its principles: proportion, balance, unity, rhythm and emphasis.
This is not really unusual for Herrera, Vicente, Kawabata, Nacianceno, Monnar, Antimano, Santos, Pilar, Valero and Saavedra belong to the roster of talented and powerful artists.
Powerful, we can say, for they have that capability and absolute control of bringing into reality the concepts and ideas that are dwelling in their minds, hearts and souls.
Similarly with Ortiz whose works are not mere ‘beautiful apparels’ but are concrete manifestations of the designer’s understanding of Filipino culture, Filipino soul and the globalist spirit.
For fashion as we all know just like any other form of visual art transcends cultures, linguistic and political barriers. Coco Chanel himself explains it in his famous quote, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Chanel’s quote comes to fruition in the current show. For every stroke, every color, every hue and every image that re immortalized on the canvases, sculptures by the participating artists do not only honor Ortiz but also honors the Filipino aesthetic tradition. This aspect of the show is also the spirit of the Ortiz creations being shown for the first time to the audience.
To honor his homeland he often uses traditional or indigenous fabrics like the piña and other hand woven textiles of our tribal brethren and traditional burda (embroideries). Besides this, the international fashion designer is also known for his philosophy of bringing fashion to more Filipinos as he firmly believes that a good piece of clothing should be affordable.
Meanwhile, the show is also an homage to the people who have had great contributions to Ortiz’ success as an international designer—his parents. In particular his mother whom he said in an interview with Zalora Philippines in 2016 is “The ultimate fashion inspiration and style icon”. He credits his peers, his models, his assistants and his co-workers just to name a few. For “without them, there’s no Randy Ortiz”.
The same can be said for the exhibiting artists honoring Ortiz, without the experiences, the support of their peers and the people who believe in their talents and skills as painters, sculptors they would not be able to create art pieces that are worth the admiration of people. In other words, the show is about honoring their artistic journey, homage to their own roots as creators.
Brian May (Gwilym Lee): See, we don’t want to repeat ourselves the same formula over and over.Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek): Formulas are a complete and utter waste of time.Ray Foster (Mike Myers): Formulas work. Lets stick with the formulas. I like formulas.Freddie: We’ll call the album A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Ray: Are you aware that no one actually likes opera? Miami Beach (Tom Hollander): I like opera.Ray: Do you?John Reid (Aidan Gillen): I do.
Freddie: Don’t misunderstand darling, it’s a rock and roll record but the scale of opera, the pace of Greek tragedy, the wit of Shakespeare, the unbridled joy of musical theater. It’s a musical experience rather than just another record. Something for everyone, something…that will make people feel it belongs to them. We’ll mix genres; we’ll cross boundaries. We’ll speak in bloody tongues if we want to. John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello): There’s no musical ghetto that can contain us. Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy): No one knows what QUEEN means because it doesn’t mean one thing!
Their era was a time when rock stars were like gods and there was no bigger name than QUEEN. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, the movie will take fans on that journey from obscurity to possibly the greatest band of all time. I feel this is the best rock roll movie ever made since PURPLE RAIN from the late great Prince. It’s the best two hours you can spend inside a darkened cinema without having sex or foreplay. All the intimate moments, sometimes tumultuous that resulted in some of the greatest lyrics and music ever writtenand performed are shared and recreated here.
Philippine Airlines NEW Business Class
The Greatest Ever?
The consensus that THE BEATLES is the greatest is up for debate especially when you watch this film. QUEEN is up there in terms of numbers and popularity: the biggest crowd ever assembled for a concert 130,000 in Brazil, their song WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS was voted as the greatest rock and roll song in a global music poll and the greatest rock performance of all time: QUEEN in LIVE AID. Their album sales topped 300 million worldwide making them as one of the best selling artists.
They also produced the top stadium anthems played over and over in all of the biggest sporting events around the world: WE WILL ROCK YOU, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS and RADIO GAGA. Music critic Paul Gambaccini made note of the fact that Freddie Mercury never saw a single football match in his life; from QUEEN MERCURY RISING video documentary.
QUEEN Mercury Rising
More than that is the experimentation in sound and the sheer audacity of crossing genres from opera to ballads to disco from what is essentially a heavy metal band.
In terms of experimentation no one could never touch the creativity of QUEEN. Other bands all mostly stayed in their lane while QUEEN at its worst most criticized album HOT SPACE, dominated the disco charts. Which is unthinkable for a guitar screeching, rock laden, metal band.
That same album also happened to have UNDER PRESSURE their collaboration with David Bowie which received critical praise decades after it was first released. The dialogue above (and many others in the movie) helps viewers understand the band’s mind set as far as breaking barriers in music is concerned.
NEW TRESemmé Range
Apart from the creative side of writing lyrics, music conceptualizing music videos, costumes etc is the performance side. That is where the consensus falls in favor of Freddie Mercury. No one in recent history, in any genre can match the colossal vocal range he was capable of. Youtuber POLYPHONIC in his video ‘The Secret Behind Freddie Mercury’s Legendary Voice’ was able to collate the research from the past decades concerning his voice.
His voice ranged from a Low F2 to a Soprano F6 but more than this is his ability to use it and maximize it to his advantage. Spanish Opera singer Montserrat Caballé said, “The difference between Freddie and all other rock stars was that he was selling the voice. His phrasing was subtle, delicate and sweet or energetic and slamming. He was able to find the right coloring or expressive nuance for each word.” The song that illustrates this (according to the video) is SOMEBODY TO LOVE.
In 2016 a group of researchers published: FREDDIE MERCURY ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS OF SPEAKING FUNDAMENTAL FREQUENCY, VIBRATO AND SUBHARMONICS. It discovered that Mercury, ‘frequently sang in the tenor register, his natural voice was actually a baritone. It was no trouble at all for Freddie to jump out of his natural range throughout his career’.
He also had a highly irregular and unique vibrato that made his voice standout. He was also able to use subharmonic tones although the study did not determine if this was something that Mercury did intentionally or out of instinct. The unique vibrato can be heard in the hit WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS.
What the fresh research and scientific analysis gives us is empirical proof of Freddie Mercury’s superiority if you will over names like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones). We see that Mercury’s vast vocal range combined with his unique use subharmonics gives him a quantitative edge over other vocalists of some of the ‘Greatest Ever Rock Bands’. This is based on measurable data and analysis.
Brian May: Among The Top Guitarists of All Time
Just as distinctive as Freddie’s voice is the aggressive guitar solos of Brian May.Whether it is in the epic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, KILLER QUEEN or SEVEN SEAS OF RHYE to the HIGHLANDER theme WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER (which May wrote and composed) what distinguishes Brian May is that he not only plays lead guitar but actually writes or composes his own guitar solos for these legendary songs.
Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever (Official Video)
Brian May learned and played the guitar at a young age starting with the ukelele. Since they could not buy him an electric guitar he made his own with his father Harold. This early creation has now earned several names: Fireplace or The Old Lady. The name comes from the sources of materials. May shared, “The oak panel on the back is from an old table top, the neck is from a fireplace which was 100 years old at the time. The dot markers were from my mom’s button box…I think this was also the first guitar in the world to have a tremolo with almost zero friction.”
Credible Proof from Steve Vai
Multiple Grammy winner and one of the world’s top guitarists himself, Steve Vai said, “I don’t think enough is really said about the brilliance of Brian May’s guitar playing, in the sense that it’s overshadowed by the greatness of the music itself. The QUEEN II album was one of those pivotal moments that just nailed me to the wall.”
Vai is able to put May in context against other great guitarists as well, “He’s probably one of the top identifiable guitar players, even more so than Beck, Page and Clapton. They’re all so identifiable, but Brian May had such a tone in his head and in his fingers. It speaks volumes. His contribution to orchestrated guitars is unprecedented. There was nothing like it before him. He’s a class act from head to toe, and it shows in his playing. I can listen to any player and pantomime their sound, but I can’t do Brian May. He’s just walking on higher ground.” The description is from Guitar World magazine’s article entitled: Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time
Brian (ranked 26) is listed higher than John Lennon (ranked 55) but lower than George Harrison (ranked 11) in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists. Every other list, however,has May higher than Harrison. In Guitar World’s Greatest Guitarist of All Time Reader’s Poll – Brian May finished second to Eddie Van Halen. It was a mammoth 132 guitarist tournament that spanned 6 months and got more than half a million votes. The two beat out the likes of Jeff Beck, Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads and a host of others. George Harrison ended up at no. 25 in this exhaustive poll.
The Ultimate Live Experience
Its almost cliché when other bands say they are the best live performer but QUEEN delivered this in every aspect. Apart from the sheer vocal power of Freddie it was his ability to enunciate each word clearly and add the right emotional phrasing. This enhanced his ability to literally command tens of thousands of audience members to sing with him and basically do whatever he wants.
Before anyone else they defined audience participation by incorporating it in their songs, that’s why they became arena anthems. In concerts upwards of 100,000 the experience was far more powerful and exhilarating than any other band could muster. You had tens of thousands singing along, clapping and chanting in unison whether its WE WILL ROCK YOU, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS or RADIO GAGA. Add the matchless guitar playing of Brian May, powerful drum beats of Roger Taylor and haunting bass line of John Deacon QUEEN is the ultimate live band.
People will get to see an enhanced version of QUEEN’s LIVE AID segment in the movie. It’s better than the actual footage because there’s better camera movement and editing. The band’s actual audio or sound performance is seamlessly mixed into the movie, along with vocals of Rami Malek and American Idol Alumnus Adam Lambert. With today’s Dolby ATMOS Surround sound system in cinemas, I feel its better than live.
QUEEN’s Head To Head Battle
LIVE AID in 1985 was so monumental because the simultaneous concerts raised £150 million pounds for the benefit of the Ethiopian famine. All of the biggest names in the music industry were there. Of particular interest were the legendary bands like THE WHO, surviving members of LED ZEPPELIN, vocalists Mick Jagger (THE ROLLING STONES), even Paul McCartney (THE BEATLES). Both Mick and Paul however, jammed with other artists instead of their original bands.
All of these bands mentioned above were all ranked higher than QUEEN in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. But LIVE AID was the singular biggest collection of artists that allowed people to see, hear and experience them in one concert, perhaps compare them side-by-side.
While it’s not a definitive competition, it’s a strong indication of how these bands perform live. And it was QUEEN who was hands down able to steal the show from all of them. They not only had the biggest audience reaction at Wembley but their performance actually inspired a wave of phone calls from TV audiences to donate to the cause. Organizer Bob Geldof himself attests to this. What happened in LIVE AID bolsters the belief that QUEEN is the greatest band ever.
Watchmojo actually considers QUEEN’S LIVE AID appearance as the best not just for that event but THE GRATEST live performance ever. Their selection spans concerts from the 1950’s with artists like Elvis, The Beatles, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash to the most recent DAFT PUNK appearance at Coachella.
Top 10 Greatest Live Musical Performances
This is where the movie BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is able to illuminate the true story of QUEEN. We find out that drummer Roger Taylor did a lot of vocal work in Bohemian, albeit under the direction of Freddie. Taylor also wrote a ton of QUEEN’s hits: THESE ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1991) etc. Bassist John Deacon composed the basic rhythm of ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST and BODY LANGUAGE, which took the band in the new and different direction of disco.
Gerard Way of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE credits QUEEN as their biggest influence. He said, “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is arguably the greatest song ever written. I’m sure people told them it was too long or had too many movements. But then it came out and just took hold of the world. When you’re in a band and you find something that breaks every rule, it gives you creative hope. And QUEEN were always trying something new; none of their hit songs were paint-by-numbers.”
Sometimes it’s the conflict, the push and pull between great minds that result in landmark work. That’s what we witness throughout the movie. The real secret is that it wasn’t just about Freddie or Brian, it was about each of them working, creating this genius we all know and love as QUEEN.
It’s easy to think or to say they had the best vocalist and guitarist but they were actually more than that. Whatever your basis, sheer popularity, musicality, talent, breaking norms and genre barriers, they’ve achieved it all. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts that’s why QUEEN is the greatest band of all time.
Watch out for part 2 of this series, which talks about the cast of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.
Delicate, mahal ko.
There’s something about her delicate face, her vulnerability that draws him in. He couldn’t quite explain it. So when he found out she was catching the last train home, he quickly volunteered to walk her there. They had less than a few minutes to catch it so they had to run. The night air rushed through their faces, neither of them knew when they ran as fast or could explain why they were smiling, giggling.
As they turned a corner they see the last tram going off the station, just missing it. Both were disappointed. Kota Sagano (Kazuya Kamenashi) surprised himself when he looked down, he was still holding her hand.Their plans change and he instead asks to call a cab for Kako Motoya (Tao Tsuchiya).
Kota: Do you have a boyfriend? Kako: If I did I wouldn’t have joined the mixer. Kota: I see. You don’t have one. That’s good. Kako: What about you? Kota: I’m currently single. Next time can the two of us meet up? Kako: What? Kota: No…That is if you don’t hate that. Kako: Not at all. [Both of them laugh]Kota: How do I put it, sometimes I say thank you too much or being too polite without being honest. What I really want is to get to know you better, that’s how I feel. How long have you been living here?
Kako: Well, all my 16 years. Kota: I see…(His face suddenly changes) What?? 16 years? Aren’t you 22 years old? (Sensing his growing anger and frustration she immediately bows) Kako: I’m sorry. Actually today I was just called to fill in for someone. I had to say my age was 22 years old. The tone of his voice changes too. Kota: (Looks disappointed) You have to go home now. Kako: Can’t we at least exchange emails? Kota: Huh? You still have the nerve to say that? Stop this nonsense…little brat. Kako: (Screams) I’m sorry! (She then immediately runs away)
The English title of this Japanese movie is POLICEMAN AND ME the original is P to JK (PとJK P to JK) acronyms for Police and Joshi Kōsei, Japanese for “high school girl”. P to JK is actually a wildly successful manga (comic book) created by Maki Miyoshi. It’s a title that was started in 2013 that is still currently on going. Each volume seems to outsell the previous one. By 2016 the series has sold 2.1 million copies. POLICEMAN AND ME is currently airing on RED by HBO.
The story isn’t your typical manga romance, which deals with teen marriage. Kota Sagano, a 26-year-old cop, genuinely falls for Kako Motoya a 16-year-old highschooler, he mistakes as 22. He didn’t want to sully her reputation by just dating her, especially at that age. He also didn’t want to let go and not see her at all. So he decided to propose marriage to her and ask her hand in marriage from her parents. 16 is the minimum marrying age for women in Japan but requires parental consent.
Their plan was to keep it under wraps from most people until she graduated. Her father was understandably against it but felt powerless to prevent them from the marriage. Kako reached a compromise with her father to not get her pregnant until after graduation. There weren’t any vulgar sex scenes, quite the opposite. Both of them seemed to be quite awkward in that regard.
Tao Tsuchiya is adorable as Kako, with equal parts of innocence, naiveté, stubbornness and determination. Not knowing how to be physically affectionate with her husband she’d approach him, close her eyes and pucker her lips waiting for him to kiss her.
Kazuya Kamenashi as Kota is the bigger star of the two as an established success in both music and film. Most fans agree he played the character close to the manga version.
Aging, Shrinking Population
From an outsider, accepting the under age factor may be too much to ask. Especially if you think that even the manga or comic book is classified in the ‘shojo’ genre, which is targeted for young girls.
This is one story that may highlight cultural differences. In the U.S. or even here in the Philippines getting married at 16 or even 18 is sometimes perceived as a problem. Teen pregnancy is something that has to be addressed as an issue and concern. While not necessarily ‘normal’ in Japan, there seems to be some factors why or how the government can view teen marriage as a positive.
With an aging population, there’s an increasing need for higher birthrates. Social scientists, even political experts have all agreed that the aging population will also lead to it shrinking. By 2050 Japan’s current 127million will only be 107 million. ‘The demographic shift is threatening the existence of rural communities, contributing to a ballooning public debt and starving the economy of labor.’[From Japan’s Shrinking Population by Isabel Reynolds –Bloomberg.com]
Basically there are not enough young people to work in farms, or supply the labor force in other sectors that keep the whole country running. This is only one of the problems they face.Which isn’t to say that either the manga or the film was necessarily government produced. But rather, getting married younger and having a higher probability of having children (or more children) is a message that may be made acceptable because of this problem.
Hiroki’s Wide Shot
Ryūichi Hiroki as director was able to balance a certain amount of realism and the fantasy or romance of the relationship that attracted so many readers. His style was very unobtrusive but in my mind quite effective. I loved his use of long shots even during dialogue. The shot size of the people talking, take up only 1/4th or a quarter of the screen.
From a wide shot or long shot Hiroki sometimes would dolly in almost imperceptibly during a dialogue scene. The longer or wider shot removes the need to cut from one face to the next making it more efficient, editing wise. We get to appreciate the performance and delivery even more in my opinion. Then when the lines necessitate, he moves into a close up. Because he uses the close up less it then becomes more effective in a way. As a viewer you don’t necessarily notice his techniques, doesn’t call attention to itself, but you can ‘feel’ it.
An added benefit to the wide shot, as a viewer I tend to look at the environs and their surroundings. Ota City in this case is part of the Tokyo Metropolitan area but is more of the suburbs. It’s a city that has a small town feel. While having a commercial district it has a lot of tree lined streets. It doesn’t have the tower or skyscrapers dominating the Tokyo skyline. The electric cable car or tram figures in the story early. Which is actually a common mode of transport throughout Japan.
Ota City incidentally is home to CANON and ANA Airlines among other large corporations.
Hiroki allows us to see all this, where the characters literal place is on the screen ergo the location. I don’t know if Ota is the same location in the manga or was specified. But even Ota Shingako High School figured prominently. This is where Kako, goes to school and a lot of the scenes take place. The school boasts of an expansive campus and probably the biggest brass band I’ve ever seen.
Whether it’s the movie POLICEMAN AND ME or from the enduring success of the P to JK manga, the bottom line is, to cherish love at any age.
Deep Kiss, you are my Alma.
Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Reynolds (Daniel Day Lewis): Why do I feel as if I’ve been looking for you for a very long time? Alma (Vicky Krieps): And now you’ve found me.
CUT TO an interview Alma (Vicky Krieps): I never really liked myself. I thought my shoulders were too wide, my neck was skinny like a bird and I had no breasts. I thought my hips were larger than needed, my arms strong. But in his work I become perfect and I feel just right. Maybe that’s how all women feel in his clothes.
PHANTOM THREAD was able to fool me more than once. As I started watching I had the distinct impression, it was a biopic of some sort, a docudrama on a real life legendary designer from the 1950s whose clients include royalty and Hollywood stars. After some cursory research, it was astonishing that it was all a work of fiction from the fertile mind of writer director Paul Thomas Anderson. It truly is from Anderson’s seed of genius that the film has sprung forth and inspired others. The recent awards season bears this out.
PHANTOM THREAD won an Oscar for Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges) andNominated in 6 Oscar categories: Best Actor (Daniel Day Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Best Original Score (Johnny Greenwood), Best Direction (Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Picture.
Both the Golden Globes and BAFTA also nominated Lewis for Best Actor. If it weren’t for Gary Oldman’s masterful performance in THE DARKEST HOUR, Lewis may have earned a fourth Oscar for this film.
BAFTA also awarded Mark Bridges Best Costume. Critic’s Associations and technical guilds in the United States and U.K. have either nominated or given awards to PHANTOM THREAD. The Boston Society of Film Critics for example has given it the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Score.
Paul Thomas Anderson – PTA
Not only is Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA for short) credited as Writer, Director, he’s also Director of Photography / Cinematographer and Producer. On the youtube video of test shots he talks about the classic lenses from the era that he wanted to use to recreate that 50s look. Among them are classic lenses 85mm Jena 2.8, 55mm Nikon 2.8 before finally settling on the 50mm Jena 2.8 from Zeiss.
He was also very particular about the film stock they used and tested quite a few along with different lenses to get the exact look and feel they wanted. I wondered if it was possible to shoot it digitally and recreate the look he desired in post, as a more cost effective solution. But he may have wanted ‘the look’ in camera as they say. And it is difficult to question success.
He did however admit his reliance on his cameramen and gaffers because of his lack of technical knowledge. Hence, Colin Anderson was nominated for the Camera Operator of the Year Award from the Society of Camera Operators.
PTA was already critically acclaimed for BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997), PUNCH DRUNK LOVE- with Adam Sandler (2002) and INHERENT VICE (2014). But it was his work THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) that gave him the most Oscar nominations and a Best Actor win for Daniel.
Maya Rudolph & Other Inspirations
Anderson has a long time relationship with SNL legend Maya Rudolph, going 17 years with four kids. One of the tender moments when Paul had flu and Maya was nursing him back to health. She gave him a facial expression that made him realize that she ‘had not looked at him with such tenderness and love in a long time’.
Another flash of inspiration is from friend and musical director Jonny Greenwood who complained of how long he took to get dressed: ‘You’re like Beau Brummel!’ Brummel was a fashion icon in the 19th century, ‘(who) claimed that he took five hours a day to dress and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. This preoccupation with dress, coupled with a nonchalant display of wit, was referred to as dandyism.’ [From https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Beau_Brummell] Cristobal Balenciaga and his ‘monastic life’ was also an inspiration for the main character.
Prior to PTA’s relationship with Rudolph, his previous long-term lover was Fiona Apple. He continues to direct music videos for Fiona and RADIOHEAD, of which Johnny Greenwood is a member.
Anderson was able to create a character that was very much believable and at the same time delve into that personal fantasy or make believe, that makes a person a central figure of a story. So he seemed like a real person, in this magnificently crafted film. The central character is himself a brilliant mind with a host of quirks that no writer or director could imagine. For example he’s rail thin but has a voracious appetite. And has extremely specific preferences or requirements to how his food is prepared.
Daniel Day Lewis was able to shape the role in more ways than just his performance. PTA credits him as co writer. The first name Reynolds is from the youth of Day-Lewis. Reynolds Stone is a renowned wood engraver in the U.K. who influenced him. “Reynolds Stone was quite an important figure in the life of my family. He was probably the greatest living wood engraver in this country, in his lifetime. We spent some Christmases in his house in Dorset as a child. The Stone family were figures in our lives.” The last name Woodcock arose from Daniel’s joke to Anderson who broke down laughing. That assured the fact it was going to be used. From: youtube vid: Cast Q & A.
Research and Casting
Day Lewis again tirelessly researched his role. He consulted with the curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and apprenticed under Marc Happel, head of the costume department at the New York City Ballet.
The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Historic Clothing Archive also yielded some fortunate encounters. When Anderson and Costume Designer Mark Bridges were there they bumped into retired dressmakers Joan Brown and Sue Clark. They were given the roles of Biddy and Nana respectively. The seamstresses roles were also given to ‘Amber Brabant and Geneva Corlett are professional film costumers. Georgia Kemball is a textile designer’. From: [official imdb page]
PHANTOM THREAD is the film that people will look back on as the breakthrough role for Vicky Krieps (Alma). This is when the world was introduced to the talent and magnetism of a young actress from Luxembourg. She has the perfect cover of innocence and weakness when she is anything but. Underneath that childlike smile hides a mentally strong and willful woman who changes Reynolds life.
Before meeting Alma, Reynolds would easily charm young ladies; sweep them off their feet. But it was only a question of when he’d tire of and eventually replace them. She’s a combination of tenderness and strength that Reynolds never encountered before.
Krieps’ natural Luxembourg accent was perfect for the role, “She was always an immigrant. Let her accent do the work. You just need to get the sense she was from somewhere different, preferably Eastern Europe,” said Anderson.
She has been cast in THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB with Sylvia Hoeks the latest sequel from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO franchise. Vicky is also currently shooting LYREBIRD a drama with Guy Pearce.
Lesley Manville on the other hand has been around the block: MALEFICENT (2014) ANOTHER YEAR (2010). Nominated as Best Supporting actress at the Oscars and BAFTA. But also won the trophy from AARP, London Critic’s Circle Film Awards and International Cinephile Society Awards: PHANTOM THREAD (2017 Best Supporting Actress) and ANOTHER YEAR (2011 Best Actress).
She won the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance as Helene Alving in Richard Eyre’s revival of GHOSTS. She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to Drama.
Manville has recently been cast in DALI LAND, NORMAL PEOPLE and the much-anticipated sequel MALEFICENT 2 with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
In an interview with People TV, Lesley had a great insight about this film, “Even if I hadn’t been cast its up there in one of my favorite films of all time. Its really wonderful the way it puts the microscope in what we want to sort out; how to be yourself, how to love, how to be a full and proper person, for some of us in the creative industry, how to marry that with creativity.” Gary Oldman, this year’s Best Actor winner, is incidentally Manville’s ex-husband and had her only child with him: Alfie Oldman. She now has 2 grandchildren Matilda and Ozzy.
Lesley plays Reynolds’ ever-present sibling Cyril. She is the agent / manager / second in command in the House of Woodcock. He affectionately calls her ‘My Old So and So’. Usually she knows what he needs and wants before he asks for it. In front of clients, she’d never question him. But in private she would never take sh** from him. It’s true as stated in other reviews, while Reynolds is the creative genius it’s these two women who truly rules his life.
Lesley Manville clip
As brilliant as Anderson is, he was very modest in acknowledging his influences in terms of movies, “Stolen, that would be the word for it. We watched PASSIONATE FRIENDS (1949) six times; we keep coming back to it over and over again. I don’t know why no one’s talking about it. The other one is I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (1945) a great Powell – Pressburger movie. A lot of the Powell Pressburger movies including the RED SHOES. BRIEF ENCOUNTER, I watched again as a refresher. REBECCA, VERTIGO and SUSPICION with John Fontaine.“
Because of the era, the film has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock who directed VERTIGO. The story / romance also parallels with PASSIONATE FRIENDS, I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING even with the setting (U.K.). Writing and directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger used color and music effectively to tell their stories. THE RED SHOES also from Powell Pressburger was a required viewing for DLSU Communication Arts majors (a long while ago) under Dr. Mike Rapatan.
On PHANTOM THREAD’s last shooting day April 26, 2017, was the same date that director Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, PHILADELPHIA) passed away. Anderson considers Demme a friend and mentor and has dedicated the film to him.
What is the Phantom Thread?
This was one of the moments in the film that convinced me that Reynolds was a real person, made him more human. He creates secret pockets in the linings of his jacket, or clothes in general that contain mementos, that are important to him. He keeps a lock of his mother’s hair in one because she taught him to sew and make dresses – his craft. Sometimes it’s a label with the name of a loved one. Only he knows its there. That’s how he literally keeps the people who matter close to his heart.
Alma: Reynolds has made my dreams come true. And I have given him what he desires most in return.
Dr. Robert Hardy (Brian Gleeson): And what’s that?
Alma: Every piece of me.